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The Gut Microbiome in Multiple Sclerosis: A Potential Therapeutic Avenue.


Recently, there has been a substantial increase in the number of studies focused upon connecting the gut microbiome with cases of central nervous system (CNS) autoimmunity. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurodegenerative autoimmune disorder of the CNS. Recent experimental and clinical evidence suggests the presence of microbial imbalances in the gut of MS sufferers. The gut microbiome is defined as the summation of all the microbial entities as well as their genes, proteins, and metabolic products in a given space and time. Studies show the MS gut microbiome as having general alterations in specific taxa, some associated with the promotion of inflammatory cytokines and overall inflammation. In conjunction with these findings, experimental models of the disease have reported that T regulatory (Treg) cells have deficits in their function as a result of the aberrant gut microbiota composition. The findings suggest that the interactions between the host and the microbiota are reciprocal, although more extensive work is required to confirm this. Moreover, evidence indicates that changes in microbiota composition may result in imbalances that could result in disease, with the gut as a potential novel therapeutic avenue. By understanding the biological effects of aberrant gut microbiome composition, it is possible to contemplate current therapeutic options and their efficacy. Ultimately, more research is necessary in this field, but targeting the gut microbiota may lead to the development of novel therapeutic strategies.